The SFFaudio Podcast #600 – Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Maureen O’Brien. This is an unabridged reading of the story (3 hours) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada
Talked about on today’s show:
The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939, The Black Flame, Fantastic Story, Spring 1952, The Margret Of Urbs story, kind of done, a story about a guy going into an empire and fuckin it up, headfaking, he’s a Conan figure, what was this about, what is freedom?, is freedom worth it?, better off not being free, helping overlords, the dawn of what?, just a bad book?, expectations, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, people wanted Typee, Shakespeare’s meditations, what humans are doing, how foolish we all are, I wanted a cartoon, Weinbaum redoing H. Rider Haggard’s SHE in a science fiction mode, Black Margo, is he her puppet?, the last paragraph, he was silent the whole way through, its not Hull Tarvish’s story, he knows his audience, you’re mostly men, kids, girls, women, there are other people other than men, mom beefs, cuz I’m not a girl, men and women are equal under the law (but not in interests), upper body strength and ability to bear children, biological differences in her brains, snakes, birds, dogs, if you’re a man reading science fiction stories, dual wielding blasters, that looks cool, how much smoking was going on, lung cancer, is this a fantasy then?, both ways, I like fightin’ and I don’t kill women, this Ayesha character, this cursed immortal, a vampire story, they’re both cursed, one of the old lovers, what this book is really about, whatchu gonna do with your life?, to use the planet as your pillow, conquer?, something to while away the years, they’re not evil, as merciful as they can, Napoleon goes in and liberates, the mighty ancient civilization, he’s the half-brother, The Black Flame, setup for the backstory, a philosophical planetary romance set on earth, sword and sandal, what you know, what you should want, what you should do, the evil empire moving north out of New Orleans headed for New York, the work of the book, a civilizing force, but they’re cursed, his mom baked him some bread, epic fantasy, he leaves a stone hut, another woman’s stone hut, its a circle, a regular person’s brush with Alexander the Great’s sister, the sexual tension, divided in loyalties and divided in desire, given two choices, the mortal girl vs. the immortal woman, it judo flips us from where we begin, nice blade trade me for it, we’re all set up for trampling an evil empire down, are you sure that’s what you want to do with your life, son?, an anti-war story, why did WWI and WWII happen?, they engineer a plague that kills 60% of people, land reforms, build roads, Hull Tarvish isn’t the bad guy because he’s us, very subtle, America falling, Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, Greek speaking invaders, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, Theodore Judson’s Fitzpatrick’s War, trying to put the US back together, internationalist, the whole world, N’Orleans, Ouroboros the world girdling snake, no worlds left to conquer, unhealthy personal behavior, drunken brawls, Hull Tarvish comes from a stable home, sow his oats, get his manhood on, fightin’, old man coach, a mistake rebellion, a reverse of the [U.S.] Civil War, these exotic figures, evil witch of a sister, they forgive him for his stupidity, why we needed Will: a barefoot bumpkin from the holla, philosophical after becoming king, what kingly and queenly activities are like, a line against becoming powerful, appreciate birdsong a good drink and time with your family, everything is science, a fantasy setting a fantasy setup, science and engineering behind all of this stuff, Lindbird is probably fictional, maybe he flew, microwave technology, beam energy, through air but not fog, he’s got rules, we are mistaken, Jesse was very impressed, we don’t know how the immortality happened, one tiny little thing, they’re sterile, where’d it come from, 100 years where no book was written, too big, She learned these things as a science, 12 hours vs. 3 hours, remember out point of view, an illiterate, a viewpoint to this world, he doesn’t ask a lot of smart questions, Weinbaum knows, teaching the reader a lesson, a mortality thing going on here, how many times does he escape death, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, on vacation in Austria in a canoe, it happened hundreds of years ago, we can’t understand it, we’re not worthy?, she puts his hands on her neck and says “squeeze” the flame, the dawn of the flame, this black flame of hair, this attraction of a moth to a flame, drawn to the flame over and over again, in his arms, in his manly form, she sees a possibility of her being killed, ultimately they have death wishes, Hull Tarvish has a definite life wish, experience, have fun, not even a real battle, she’s dead inside, her conquering, bringing civilization back, bringing civilization back, she’s Prometheus, why is that?, he has an interest in her as a sister, half brothers have half interests, a mated pair, that’s my sister, retelling this novel from a female pov, that male female thing, she wants to be attractive, what does Joaquin, male and female psychology, usually the way this works in a traditional story: a young man finds a princess, assassinate a princess, the forgiving nature and whim of that princess, they’re to the focus of the wisdom that Weinbaum is trying to struggle to, a very philosophical book, a lot of conversations, talking with this immortal, She in SHE is evil, Black Margot is bored, a severe case of “is that all there is?”, a narrow escape for Hull Tarvish, cursed to be one of the mercenaries in this growing army, the footnote at the end, an anonymous volume, Loves Of The Black Flame, the very first Conan story, Phoenix On The Sword, the Black Dragons, Game Of Thrones, this is somebody very close, told far in the future, one incident in Princess Margot’s life, ancient St. Louis, both terms as anachronism, wicked world metropolis, a very thin slice of an incident, page 105, a bit unusual, the history weirdness of this story, a fake history of the future, a salacious history, the atomic rocket crashings, if Weinbaum had lived, The Black Flame, Sam Moskowitz, Satellite, December 1956, is Weinbaum overblown?, a diminishing pool of readers, Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories, Astounding, “thought variants”, Charles D. Hornig, so new, so breezy, readers were unreserved in their enthusiasm, John Taine, Jack Williamson, Ray Cummings, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, A Martian Odyssey, The Wizard Of Oz, stylistic magic, Tweel, paradoxical actions, the interplanetary strange encounter tale, the silicon monster hat burped bricks, wheeling rubbish, a tentacled plant with wish fulfillment images, “I saw with pleasure someone had last escaped… -H.P. Lovecraft”, A. Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, a chemical engineer, The Lady Dances by Marge Stanley, a woman’s name as a byline, The Mad Brain and The New Adam, an operetta, Omar The Tentmaker, Helen Weinbaum, Graph, $55, Solar Sail Service, Mortimer Weisinger, Ralph Milne Farley, Circle Of Zero, a strangely acceptable trick, The Valley Of Dreams, Julius Schwartz, Flight On Titan, knife-kites, whiplash trees, tread-worms, Parasite Planet, Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame, the outre creatures, The Lotus Eaters, a warm blooded plant, Oscar, a series of questions and answers, under the influence of the narcotic spore, pontifical inertia, Pygmalion’s Spectacles, The Worlds Of If, The Ideal, virtual reality, Prof. Van Manderpootz, what would happen if…, synoptic, reading Weinbaum right, the attitudinizer, seeing the world through the mind of others, humour and style, a philosopher was at work, a masterful short novel, a woman of extraordinary beauty, The Milwaukee Fictioneers, the Radio Pirates and others, Amazing Stories, a former Wisconsin senator, True Gang Life, Yellow Slaves, Smothered Seas, formula material or go unpublished, The Planet Of Doubt, Weinbaum could do no wrong, the animated linked sausages of Uranus, The Adaptive Ultimate, Weinbaum had been “typed”, John W. Campbell, Jr., Don A. Stuart, almost plotless travelogues, David H. Keller’s Life Everlasting, one of his favourite authors, a tubercular girl, the ability to defeat death, dramatized on the radio, Tales Of Tomorrow, She Devil (1957), so adaptable, tonsil extraction, Proteus Island, imitation pneumonia, x-ray treatments, The Red Peri, a woman space pirate of phenomenal cunning, The Adaptive Ultimate, super-woman, a subconscious wish to meet a woman his intellectual equal, Smothered Seas, The Mad Moon, a semi-intelligent rat, minor masterpiece, Ralph Milne Farley, The Dictator’s Sister, Ray Palmer, Charles D. Hornig, 15 month after his first science fiction story appeared…, surrounded by radiance, The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, high poetry in the closing passages, maybe Einar is immortal, The Circle Of Zero, it should be read, an undersea wall, Real And Imaginary, Brink Of Infinity, The Tenth Question by George Allan England, he wrote it for himself, The Revolution Of 1980, transgender dictator, no end to his last stories, Tidal Moon, The New Adam, Edgar Rice Burroughs, fatal passion for a woman, morbidly fascinating, so gay a frolic, The Dark Other, Graph, Green Glow Of Death, Eric Frank Russell, Henry Kuttner, John Russell Fearn, Philip Jose Farmer’s The Lovers, before the curtain descended, a poem, a little long, 45 minutes of reading Sam Moskowitz, Ted Chiang, really thinking about the details, the attraction of the woman, Margot springboarded into another character, sometimes people are wrong about stuff, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, just trying to sell magazines, suddenly flip, angrily ranting, screaming and yelling in a foreign language, a story needs to be parsed, better thinking about it rather than reading it, Maureen O’Brien, back in 2004.